WEDNESDAY, DEC. 9
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 9
Virginia Tech accepted an invitation to play in the Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Dec. 26, extending its streak of bowl appearances to 23 straight. The Hokies will take on Tulsa from the American Athletic Conference in what will be the final game of head coach Frank Beamer’s career. Tech’s longtime and all-time winningest coach will retire following the game after 29 years as the Hokies’ coach. Perhaps fittingly, the Independence Bowl marked the start of Tech’s current bowl streak under Beamer, a streak that is the longest active streak recognized by the NCAA. The Hokies beat Indiana 45-20 in the 1993 Independence Bowl. The game kicks off at 5:45 p.m., and can be seen on ESPN. Click here to visit Bowl Central.
The Hokies had a big week, picking up a win at Penn State before claiming a 14-point, 57-43 decision at No. 8 Tennessee. Junior Vanessa Panousis led the Hokies against the Vols, dropping in 21 points while hitting 5-of-8 from outside the arc. In addition, Panousis helped seal the win by connecting on 6-of-6 from the line in the final 1:10. Regan Magarity added 13 points, going a career-high 3-of-3 from long range. The win marked Tech’s first over the Lady Vols as well as the first over a top-10 opponent since a victory over Maryland in 2012. It also snapped Tennessee’s 44-game home win streak against unranked opponents. Tech opened the week with a 64-59 win over Penn State in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Panousis scored 16 points against the Lady Lions, Hannah Young added 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Chanette Hicks had 10 points and six assists.
(Women’s Basketball • Junior • Sydney, Australia)
Panousis led the Hokies to two power-5 non-conference road wins on the week. She started off the big week dropping in 16 points in a 64-59 win at Penn State despite playing just 25 minutes in the 2015 Big Ten/ACC Challenge game. She clinched the win for the Hokies in the final 30 seconds, going 4-of-4 from the free throw line to seal the victory. In Tech’s historic 57-43 win at No. 8 Tennessee, Panousis shot 5-of-8 from outside the arc, connecting on 62.5 percent from long range. She hit three of her five 3-pointers in the second half to help spark the Tech offense and was again perfect from the line, going 6-of-6 in the final 1:10 as the Hokies closed out the win over the Lady Vols with a 13-0 run.
The Hokies split a pair of games this week, dropping a heartbreaker, 81-79, in overtime to Northwestern on Tuesday night on Virginia Tech Carilion Court at Cassell Coliseum in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and downing Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 80-45, on Saturday afternoon on Alumni Weekend. Against the Wildcats, Tech fought back from a double-digit deficit to force the extra period. Down two points in the waning seconds, Tech missed a baseline jumper that would have forced a second overtime. Seth Allen led all scorers with 25 points and Chris Clarke recorded his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds. In the win over UAPB, five Hokies scored in double-figures, led by Jalen Hudson with 15 points. Zach LeDay added another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Virginia Tech earned a sixth-place finish as a team and brought home the first individual championship in program history from the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Heavyweight Ty Walz steamrolled his competition, advancing to the quarterfinals behind two falls and a technical fall, before winning three decisions en route to a first-place finish. Joey Dance finished in second place for the second-straight year at 125 pounds and three other Hokies placed: Solomon Chishko (fifth at 141), Zack Zavatsky (third at 184) and Jared Haught (sixth at 197). The sixth-place finish is even more impressive considering the Hokies only competed in seven of 10 weight classes against the loaded field. Tech will take some time off before competing at George Mason on January 3rd.
Justin Robinson and the men’s team will play at New River Valley neighbor Radford Wednesday at 7 p.m., at the same time the women are on Virginia Tech Carilion Court against Morgan State. On Sunday, the two squads play a double-header at Cassell Coliseum, with the women taking on Coppin State at noon, and the men facing Lamar at 3 p.m.